Character Bios

When to do them or not to do them. Are you aware of them? I got the idea in “How to Write a Damn Good Novel”. Essentially, interview as many of your characters as you can/need in order to allow you to recognize each character’s voice, motivations and history. The bios give those characters depth and believability.

When to do one? I think the gauge should be – whenever you feel like a character is going to actually have a name or occupy page space for more than a few paragraphs. Obviously, if you name Doorman Bill, and he has no impact on the story except to open doors, then you can probably leave off his bio and how he went to DoorMan College for six years.

One of the coolest things about character bios is that they are for YOU, the writer. They’re actually really fun to write. No pressure, no one will see them, and you get to have a blunt conversation between character and creator. I also interview my characters, with a play by play, tossing back and forth and even incorporate some of their answers into follow up questions. It’s a bit schizophrenic, but also personally entertaining as well.

Give it a shot – let me know what you think!